I’ve talked about getting a good book cover. Now I’m going to talk about editing.
Here’s a fact you aren’t going to want to hear: you need an editor. A good cover will make readers give your book a second glance, but you need to keep those readers once they crack open your book. It doesn’t matter how good a writer you are, how proficient your grammar is, or how many times you’ve reread your work. You’re going to miss things. You’re going to not know about some tiny grammatical issue. You’re going to have a sentence that makes perfect sense to you, but won’t to your audience. These are things I suspected before I hired an editor, but the edits I received cemented that fact. The thing is, you don’t know what’s gone wrong in your book before you have an editor comment on it.
First thing you need to determine is what type of editing you need. My stories are already highly fleshed out, finished, and complete. I’m concerned about word usage and repetition, so I looked for someone who could do copy editing on my books. Here’s an edit-rich section from my first book for an example:
If you have concerns about your story itself more than the grammar, you might need a developmental editor. Once you figure out what you’re looking for in an editor, it’s time to find one!
I wanted one with experience in the horror genre, and you’ll want one experienced in your genre. I posted for recommendations in a horror writers group on Facebook, and contacted several with requests for an edit sample, usually a page or two that the editor goes over and returns to you with comments. These help you pick someone who clicks with you and really gets what you’re looking for. One editor I contacted that came highly recommended refused to do a sample. I didn’t go with them.
Now you have an editor! They’ll cost a lot of money! Be prepared! As I’ve said, you’ve chosen an expensive hobby-turned-career. You’ll have to throw money down before the dollars flow back in.
My finely edited series The Fallowing is going up for pre-order, and will be available starting March 12th. Check out the first in the set here!